The number one reason that couples fight in a marriage is because of money. Whether there’s not enough to go around, or you can’t agree how to spend it, money can wreck havoc on a relationship if financial issues and concerns aren’t addressed properly.
Here’s how to deal with financial problems in marriage.
- Be honest with each other. When you get married, everything becomes conjugal. This includes money and debt. To be able to address a problem, you need to acknowledge the problem and talk about it. Don’t have secret credit cards from each other. If you have a lot of debt, tell your spouse. If you can’t afford the big dream house, be upfront about it so you can work out a plan together. Sit down and write down what you each make, how much can go towards the bills and what you want to keep for yourself.
- Both have to be responsible for the finances. In most marriages, couples eventually settle into a pattern wherein the husband brings home the cash, while the wife handles the bills. While this may work, each person should still be aware of how the money is being spent. It doesn’t mean a close scrutiny of the household accounts, but it does mean that at the very least, both should know how much is coming in and going out every month. Both should be able to handle the checkbook and know how to pay bills. Also, because you are married, you should help each other pay off debt, regardless of who spent the money.
- Make a budget and stick to it. You should both be aware of how each of you spends the money. Sit down together and make a list of all outstanding debt, plus monthly payments that need to be paid. Together, make a plan on how much money can go towards savings, retirement and all other expenses of the household.
- Have disposable income that you don’t have to account to your spouse. Each person in the household regardless of who brings home a bigger paycheck should have some fun money. Even if it’s only $20 a week, the point is, each partner should be able to make financial decisions by themselves without having to ask permission from the other. This way, neither couple will build resentment towards the other.
- Treat money and each other with respect. To avoid conflict in a relationship, you must treat each other with the utmost respect. This means that you don’t berate your spouse for not making enough money or yell at your wife for spending too much. Having respect for money and each other also entails that you both live within your means and sticking to the budget you made together. Respect also means that you will inform the other of any major financial purchases and decisions before doing it. Buying a car, house, changing jobs or investment options are important decisions that need to be discussed and agreed upon beforehand.
Money doesn’t have to be a major stressor in your relationship if you
don’t let it. Always work together so you can make your relationship
stronger, regardless of your financial situation.